When we told people in La Paz that we were headed to Altata, we got two types of responses. One was, “Where’s that?” The other (always from people who hadn’t been there) was “You shouldn’t go there!” Altata is about 100 miles north of Mazatlan, on the mainland of Mexico. The first cruising boat came here in 2001, and since then more boats have followed. Last year there were about 8 boats that made it here. Cruisers are scared away by the tricky entrance to the bay, and the long (11 mile) trek up the unmarked channel, where it is easy to go aground if you don’t know where the deep water is.
We left La Paz on Thursday, January 10, and spent the night in nearby Caleta Lobos. Taking our 4.5 knot average speed into account, and guessing that high tide in Altata (the best time to enter) would be around 10:30am on Saturday, Todd and I got up at 4am on Friday to start our crossing of the Sea of Cortez. Soon after we pulled up anchor, I went below to get some more sleep. When I came back up shortly before 7am, we were through the San Lorenzo Channel and into the Sea. I took the helm, Todd got the sails up, and soon we were zipping along at around 7 knots!
Capn Nailbiter was worried about the sea state, fearing that the wind would pick up and create waves bigger than the 2 to 4 foot (and occasional 6 ft) swells were were seeing. In my mind I was composing an ad for the La Paz newspapers: “Lost: One pair of big girl panties, size XL, ‘Todd’ written on tag. Last worn off the Pacific coast.” I couldn’t mock Todd directly at the time, because he was really sea sick. Luckily I had nothing else to do but commit my sarcastic comments to memory, and just had to wait until we were comfortably anchored to let loose. (more…)